GILAS Pilipinas stalwarts Jason Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo already practiced with the national team on the eve of the 27th Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship, but have yet to regain full fitness.
Point guard LA Tenorio said practice went well at the Treston College gymnasium as the national team finally practiced with all players accounted for including Castro and De Ocampo, who both suffered injuries during Gilas’ tune-up match against Kazakshtan last Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The two Talk `N Text players received treatment for their ankle sprain and will be ready for the nationals’ opening day game against Saudi Arabia on Thursday when the qualifier for the World Basketball Championship opens shop at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“We’re fortunate enough that the injuries to Ranidel and Jason were not as serious, although they’re not practically 100 percent,” admitted coach Chot Reyes. “But they will play a couple of games to keep them in shape.”
The 5-foot-8 Tenorio meanwhile, said former New Zealand coach Tab Baldwin has also been a huge help for the coaching staff, giving vital inputs on the team’s defensive schemes.
“Maganda actually `yung ginagawa nila (Gilas coaching staff) kasi nagtutugma naman sila (with Baldwin). Saka maganda nga `yung nagtutulungan sila kasi siyempre, si coach Tab nakapag-coach na sa World Championship. Malaking bagay yun,” said Tenorio.